Health Impact Assessment

HRIA Compendium Groups

ABSTRACT: “This article examines Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) as a methodological approach to investigate and measure human rights impacts and compliance. It recognizes that there is a vast body of relevant theoretical material, but notes that practical examples of its use and case studies are thus far limited. To analyse the potential contributions of HRIAs for human rights practitioners, a concrete tool is discussed: Aim for human rights ‘Health Rights of Women Assessment Instrument’, produced by Aim for human rights. The article considers lessons that can be drawn from practical experiences with this tool. In the discussion of the case studies, examples of results and outcomes of its use are provided. The authors then extrapolate from the concrete tool to discuss to what extent HRIA as a methodology can contribute to measuring and promoting the realization of human rights. They highlight benefits as well as challenges that still have to be overcome. Finally, a call is made for more intensive sharing of practical experiences with HRIA tools in order to move the methodology forward.”

ABSTRACT: “The World Health Organization has written that ‘without health, other rights have little meaning’ (Jamar 1994). Over the past decade, the full ramifications of this statement have become clearer, as the health and human rights movement has endeavoured to establish conceptual and analytical bridges between the two disciplines of health and human rights, to create a field of discourse that goes to the very essence of human wellbeing. That discourse now faces the challenge of evolving itself from the conceptual to the operational, so that the linkages between health and human rights are explicitly recognised and incorporated in decision-making processes. There is therefore a rising call for new methodologies that can advance this ongoing evolution. A right-to-health impact assessment has been suggested as one such methodology, on the basis that it might provide decision makers across sectors with an evidence-based mechanism for analysing and anticipating the effects of their decisions. This article seeks to explore that possibility by examining the experiences of health impact assessment and human rights impact assessment and considering whether a right-to-health impact assessment offers anything more than these existing methodologies. These considerations belie complex conceptual and methodological issues, and the article offers some preliminary thoughts on the issues with which the health and human rights movement will need to grapple as it continues its struggle to mainstream human wellbeing.”

ABSTRACT: In recent years, there has been a growing demand for governments to carry out human rights impact assessments prior to adopting and implementing policies, programmes and projects. To date, however, little work has been done to develop methodologies and tools to aid governments in undertaking human rights impact assessments. The purpose of this project is to contribute to the development of such a methodology. UNESCO provided the funding for this project, and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health (‘the right to the highest attainable standard of health’ or ‘the right to health’) supervised the project and preparation of this report. This report emphasizes the role of human rights impact assessment in alleviating poverty…. This report reviews and then draws key criteria from three pioneering human rights impact assessment initiatives:  (1) the  NORAD  Handbook  in Human Rights Assessment, (2) the  Rights & Democracy Initiative  on Human Rights Impact  Assessment, and (3) the HOM Health Rights of Women Assessment Instrument. We focus specifically on the obligation of governments to undertake impact assessments in order to comply with their obligation to progressively realize human rights and, accordingly, propose a methodology specifically suited to government assessments.

ABSTRACT: “Two decades ago, Lawrence Gostin and Jonathan Mann developed a methodology for human rights impact assessment (HRIA) of proposed public health policies. This article looks back over the last 20 years to examine the development of HRIA in the health field and consider the progress that has been made since Gostin and Mann published their pioneering article. Health-related HRIA has advanced substantially in three ways. First, the content of the right to health has been delineated in greater detail through domestic and international laws and policies. Second, the UN human rights mechanisms have recommended that governments undertake HRIAs and have issued guidelines and methodologies for doing so. Third, nongovernmental organizations and international organizations have developed HRIA tools and carried out case studies to demonstrate their feasibility. In this light, the article concludes by recognizing the substantial progress that has been made in HRIA over the last 20 years and by considering some challenges that remain for health-related HRIA.”

ABSTRACT: “In the developing world, large-scale projects in the extractive industry and natural resources sectors are often controversial and associated with long-term adverse health consequences to local communities. In many industrialised countries, health impact assessment (HIA) has been institutionalized for the mitigation of anticipated negative health effects while enhancing the benefits of projects, programmes and policies. However, in developing country settings, relatively few HIAs have been performed. Hence, more HIAs with a focus on low- and middle-income countries are needed to advance and refine tools and methods for impact assessment and subsequent mitigation measures. We present a promising HIA approach, developed within the frame of a large gold-mining project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The articulation of environmental health areas, the spatial delineation of potentially affected communities and the use of a diversity of sources to obtain quality baseline health data are utilized for risk profiling. We demonstrate how these tools and data are fed into a risk analysis matrix, which facilitates ranking of potential health impacts for subsequent prioritization of mitigation strategies. The outcomes encapsulate a multitude of environmental and health determinants in a systematic manner, and will assist decision-makers in the development of mitigation measures that minimize potential adverse health effects and enhance positive ones.”

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